The Little Question That Fueled Alan Alda's Big Push For Plain-Spoken Science (PODCAST)

January 9, 2015 3:52 PM

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The Little Question That Fueled Alan Alda's Big Push For Plain-Spoken Science (PODCAST)

With celebrities such as former Playboy model Jenny McCarthy pushing the discredited idea that vaccines cause autism, researchers and public health officials have worried about the resurgence of preventable childhood diseases. Actress Amanda Peet lent her celebrity shine to the cause of vaccination in 2008 when she became the spokeswoman for the group Every Child By Two, an organization that encourages childhood vaccination. Peet used her own experiences as a new mother to encourage parents to get vaccine information from reliable sources. "What became clear to us after all of our research was that scientists around the world clearly refuted any connection between vaccines and autism or other disorders. Most importantly, I learned that delaying vaccines could jeopardize our baby's life," Peet wrote on the website, "After my experiences I realized that many parents must be going through the same turmoil over this critical decision. I was determined to do whatever I could to help parents like us get the facts straight on this very important issue."

Queen Amidala was only the beginning. Movie star Natalie Portman started acting as a child, but kept her academic dreams alive, too, graduating from Harvard University in 2003 with a bachelor's in psychology. She was a semifinalist in the Intel Science Talent Search in 1998 and a co-author on a stud...

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